Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


This unit examines the broad nature of contemporary security challenges to states and other actors in contemporary international politics. The unit looks different theoretical perspectives on the nature of international security, including constructivism and securitisation discourse. It also examines a range of contemporary international security issues, which may include the nature of terrorism, environmental security, human security, gender security and links between democracy and various security threats. The unit aims to provide an understanding of the diversity of security challenges in the contemporary world.

6 points

Students are able to (1) understand the different ways in which security challenges have been conceptualised and the diverse nature of such challenges, by participating in the seminar program; (2) analyse and assess a range of opinions about a specific question involving a challenge to state or human security, through a research essay; and (3) apply skills of critical comprehension and analysis, by undertaking an end-of-semester examination clarifying the nature of various contemporary security challenges.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a research essay; (2) a two-hour end-of-semester examination; and (3) seminar participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Sarah Percy
Unit rules
POLS8604 Problems of International Security
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.